There is such a confusion in the Church today about what we are to believe and why. As I work with young people in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) it is obvious that both believers and non-believers have a lot of confusion about what we, the Christians and followers of Jesus, really believe and why we believe it.
A lot of the confusion comes because we are mixing Old Testament and New Testament together as if they were equally important for our walk with the Lord and our maturity as believers. Because of the amount of teaching rooted in the Old Testament we have people believing for things that were only promised to Israel of old – God’s people back then. Christians are being taught to live by Old Testament principles and laws that were for Israel and not for God’s chosen people today – the Church.
Two nights ago as our church plant met in Toronto I received a message asking me about “blessings and curses.” This, of course, is found in Deuteronomy 28 but is referring to the ground rules that the Israelites were to follow as they lived for their God in the wilderness and then in their Promised Land. It is not something for Jesus followers today because Jesus died on the cross and removed the curse from those who believe. The Old Covenant was completed and fulfilled by Jesus during His brief life on our planet. He stated, “It is finished” as He hung on the cross and died for our sins. The Law is finished – we are living under grace and take our clues for life from the New Testament.
Believers today are mixing Old Testament and New Testament together and ending up with confusion. The Old is a record of God’s interaction with the Jewish nation. It is the OLD Covenant. We are the Church, God’s chosen people today. And, our Scripture (inspired writings) are the 27 books of the NEW Testament. The Old Testament is good for a historical understand of God’s interaction with the human race. It also contains the prophetic voices that forecast the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus. So, it is important as background and history. And, it is inspired. But, we are living in New Testament times and should focus on reading and living the New Testament writings.
Paul said it clearly when he said, “…but we preach Christ crucified…” (1 Corinthians 1:23) and “I had made up my mind not to think about anything while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and to preach him as crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2). If anyone could have preached from the Old Testament it was Paul. He was a Pharisee and well versed in all of the Old Testament writings. But, as a believer and leader in the Church, he chose to preach Christ.
This is our message. And, we need to go back to teaching on the King and His Kingdom; the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14).
Joshua and the people of Israel walked around Jericho every day for a week. The seventh day they walked around seven times, shouted, and the walls came down. So, now leaders tell us to walk around our city and pray so that spiritual walls will fall and the city can be taken for Jesus. Really! God spoke those specific directions to a specific people at a specific time and place. He did not speak them to the Church. No where in the New Testament do you see the believers walking around their cities.
God said to His people that they were to fast and pray, humble themselves and that He would heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14). Christian preachers teach on this all the time and have their people fast, pray, humble themselves … But those words were not spoken to the Church. They were spoken to God’s people, Israel, and are not for today. They are not a current promise that the Church, believers today, can glibly pull out of context, claim, and confess as a promise that God made to them. Nope. Not real!
And on and on the example could go. Let’s preach Christ and Him crucified. Let’s live in the New Testament – the book for the Church as it is the New Covenant made between God and followers of Jesus. Let’s stop confusing believers and non-believers alike. Let’s get back to the basics and watch what will happen as people discover the bare and basic resurrection power of Jesus without all the “religious” trappings.
Rise up Church and be the Church!